The Hot Box BBQ

BBQ Food truck portland

The Hot Box BBQ

Location: 3200 SW Moody – The Gantry
Hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 11am-7pm

The Story: Boy meets girl. Girl enters BBQ contest and places. The Hot Box BBQ is born. Located in the Sellwood district, this BBQ food truck requires a visit.

The back story on The Hot Box BBQ is pretty cool. Dan and Abby, the owners and BBQ masters, met on a cruise to Mexico. Abby, born and raised in Hong Kong, decided to join Dan in Humboldt County thereafter and having an adventurous spirit decided she wanted to compete in a local BBQ contest. That first entry garnered her a 3rd place ribbon. Not satisfied, she returned for the next 4 years. The Hot Box BBQ cart was born. After much success in Northern California, the pair uprooted and now call Portland home. The menu has expanded along with weekly specials.

BBQ Food truck portland

The Volcano from The Hot Box BBQ

I tell everyone about the mouthwatering BBQ we get at food carts. Since Portland doesn’t have an entrenched BBQ culture like other parts of the country, most of what we enjoy is transplanted. The Hot Box BBQ focuses on pulled pork sandwiches of all different styles. From an original to the Maui Wowie with pickled onion and pineapple, every sandwich screamed goodness. The Volcano, with pulled pork, homemade jalapeno pepper jelly, crisp onion bits and sriracha aioli on a brioche bun rumbled my stomach just reading the description. Dan built one up and I dove in. Heck, while I had plenty of napkins, it was still a glorious mess. The pork, perfectly smoked with just enough fat to keep it moist. The heat from the sriracha aioli and pepper jelly kept a well balanced burn throughout the enjoyment of this beast. And the bun! An excellent choice.

The Hot Box BBQ, slang for a BBQ smoker, is now open to feed ya. Drop on by next time you’re in the area and enjoy some quality pulled pork. Let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[Hot Box BBQ moved to The Gantry in 2015]

Sample Menu:

  • The Original – smoked pulled pork, homemade coleslaw, mayo, homemade peach BBQ sauce – $8
  • The Maui Wowie – $9
  • The Volcano – $9
  • The Green Meany Salad – smoked pulled pork or marinated smoked tofu, fresh lettuce, pickled onion, carrot, cucumber, tomato, pineapple, Thai peanut dressing – $8

Facebook: The Hot Box BBQ

Neue Southern PDX

southern food cart portland

Neue Southern PDX

Location: 3200 SW Moody – The Gantry
Hours: Tues-Fri, 12-8, Saturdays, 12-5 (subject to change, check Facebook for updates)

The Story: Portland is a people magnet, not just for the young and tech entrepreneurs, but also for chefs. Lauren and Graham, the owners of Neue Southern PDX traveled 3000 miles from Greenville, SC to open their cart. One of Portland’s latest additions to the food cart scene.

Lauren and Graham opened Neue Southern in Greenville two years ago, but the siren song of Portland’s street food scene called and they sold the truck and bought a cart from a local builder and set up shop on SE Belmont, an ever evolving food destination. The cart pod,  Belle Carts,  hosts three vendors at this time with covered seating. Lauren and Graham attended the much vaunted culinary school Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte and opened their food truck shortly thereafter. Their goal, a menu offering local, sustainable, in season items crafted into tasty dishes. When I visited, the chalk written menu spoke to an ever evolving range of options based on their culinary expertise but also what’s in season. There are few vendors who can pull this off, but after enjoying lunch from Neue Southern PDX, I’m sold.

southern food cart Portland

Schnitzel Sandwich from Neue Southern PDX

Lauren greeted me with a smile and welcomed me to the cart. Always a good sign. Menu for that Wednesday included deep fried brussels sprouts, a butternut squash soup with apple, shallot, vanilla, thyme and brown butter cream, and event fried quail with a buttermilk biscuit. While I’m eager to try every dish, I didn’t have enough room in the belly entering Thanksgiving weekend, so I picked out the schnitzel sandwich, always a favorite for my tastebuds. An organic pork shoulder, battered and fried, topped with Bibb lettuce, sweet and sour pickles and served on a house made bun with lemon cream. The schnitzel was easily 25% larger than the bun which I love. Mixing the sweet and sour pickles with the schnitzel and lemon cream is genius – so many disparate flavors put together to create sandwich harmony. A rather sizable sammy, so if you’re visiting, bring a friend and order two items and share.

Neue Southern PDX is a great addition to Portland’s street food scene. Each day I’m surprised by what chefs are crafting in the little kitchens that are food carts and am happy to have a taste of the south as an offering. Drop on by the next time your down that way and let Laurent and Graham know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

[Neue Southern moved to The Gantry in summer 2015]

Sample Menu (see website or Facebook for menu updates):

  • Brussels sprouts deep fried – $4
  • Schnitzel Sandwich – $9
  • Fried Quail – $12
  • Seasonal Soup – $7
  • Steamed Bun with pork belly, sorghum + blackstrap rum, sweet and sour pickles, penne, house bun – $9 for 2

Twitter: @NeueSouthern
Facebook: NeueSouthern

Cackalack’s Hot Chicken Shack Rose City

fried chicken food cart portland

Cackalack’s Hot Chicken Shack Rose City

Location: NE 52nd and Sandy, Rose City Food Park
Hours: Mon-Sun, 12-7

The Story: Cackalack’s Hot Chicken Shack expanded this summer to open a second food cart at Rose City Food Park in NE Portland. Same menu as their SE location including some amazing wings.

See our post on Cackalack’s here.

fried chicken food cart portland
Facebook: Cackalack’s Hot Chicken Shack

Sivad’s House of Soul

Sivad's House of Soul

Sivad’s House of Soul

Location: SW 4th and Ankeny
Hours: Daily, lunchtime; late night on weekends

The Story: Soul food warms your heart. That is the take from Sivad’s House of Soul, a new truck located on SW 4th and Ankeny.

Pronounced ‘So-vads’, the Portland theme wrapped truck opened earlier this year with the goal of offering down home cooking with roots in the rural south. Owners Tundra and Davis hail from the midwest, yet their parents are from the south, so they both grew up surrounded by the smells, flavors and traditions of the region. The truck sports images of Portland’s skyline along with a story about the origins of soul food. You’ll definitely recognize this truck when it drives past.

Sivad’s menu is extensive with items covering every meal of the day. As they find their niche in the Portland street food scene, they are choosing to offer different items each day like smoked BBQ ribs, chicken and waffles, fried chicken, and a favorite of mine, catfish. The pan fried catfish is served alone or in a sandwich with soul slaw and fries. The seasoning on the catfish brought back memories of Louisiana and time spent there. Slathering the fish with the slaw in the sandwich not only created a delightful mess, it brought all the diverse flavors together in every bite. Next time, ribs.

Catfish sandwich from Sivad's House of Soul

Catfish sandwich from Sivad’s House of Soul

Sivad’s House of Soul is a great addition to the downtown food scene and Tundra and Davis are a couple of great people. If you’re looking for a hearty meal, drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Smoke BBQ Ribs  with fries and soul slaw – $14
  • Catfish dinner – $9
  • Chicken and Waffle – $9
  • Fried Chicken – $5-6.50
  • Chili Dog and Fries – $8

Phone: 503 569 5507

Left Coast

Left Coast

Left Coast

Location: SW 5th and Stark
Hours: Mon-Fri, 10:30am-4pm; Sat, 11am-3pm

The Story: Craving a handmade sausage burger or maybe a fried chicken sandwich? Fries? Left Coast is an all-American diner in a food cart.

Left Coast took over the recognizable cart that once housed The Swamp Shack down off SW 5th ave. With its signature steal panelling and recycled worn wood siding, new owner John Sturm left the cart pretty much the way it was. Why mess with a good thing? Left coast has burgers on the menu, yet on close inspection, they are handmade sausage patties with pork, chorizo or andouille. Other menu items include fish sandwiches and the shrimp poboy I enjoyed.

Shrimp PoBoy from Left Coast

Shrimp PoBoy from Left Coast

The shrimp poboy is one of those sandwiches you either do right or you don’t do it at all. There are so many purists out there you want to ensure you’re not messing with a family tradition. John’s sandwich is served open-face in order to present all the tasty goodness. An amazing amount of lightly battered and fried popcorn shrimp sit atop a toasted roll and then covered with lettuce, chopped tomato and spicy Sriracha mayo. I grabbed a couple of shrimp and tossed them in my mouth. So good. Crispy and sweet. Dip in the sauce and I’m sold. I ate more than a few that way until I was able to pick up the sandwich and enjoy it the way one does – holding it in two hands and taking a bite. John nailed it.

Left Coast opened early this year and seems to have already gathered a loyal following. I’m always happy to see a famous cart host a new vendor and succeed. Drop on by and let them know Food Carts Portland sent ya.

Sample Menu:

  • Fried Chicken Sandwich – breaded chicken breast on toasted bun with Sriracha mayo and spicy pepper slaw – $7
  • Hawaiian Pork Burger – handmade sausage patty grilled and served on toasted bun with lettuce, grilled pineapple, grilled onions and cheddar – $6
  • Chorizo Burger – handmade chorizo and pork sausage patty grilled and served on toasted bun with lettuce, avocado, fried anaheim pepper and pepperjack – $6
  • Shrimp PoBoy – fried popcorn shrimp on toasted french roll – $8

Facebook: Left Coast
Phone: 513 520 3206